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Showing posts from August, 2023


  When I opened Blogger the other morning I saw that the Hiccupps all-time page view counter had ticked up to exactly 500000. My initial feeling was pleasure. Ooh! A milestone! Half a million views! Get me ! But that was fleeting.  As with many metrics, today's value is almost the least engaging aspect. What's more interesting is what the number represents, what it is desired that it should represent, and how closely those two concepts align on axes that matter. Also interesting: who wanted this metric (and there may be multiple interested parties) and whether they still want it, what assumptions are being made about it, what values (or milestones) matter, what it is being plugged into, and what decisions are made using it. That's not all, of course, because one sample is just one sample. More interesting is where it sits in context to others, if and how it is trending, and whether it correlates with relevant related metrics over the same period. I could go on. I don't

The Bell at Albion Bottle

When my dad retired around 20 years ago, I got him a second hand PC and have been serving as first, second, and third-line tech support for him and occasionally his mates ever since.  He's an inveterate story teller and, for a laugh, one time I told him he should write all of his tales down and give them numbers. Then, instead of telling them (again) he could just say the number and we'd all laugh, saving everybody time. Well, he called my bluff so I'm now mid-way through editing a 300-page Word document he sent me and if I ask him about a detail of one of the stories, he recounts the entire thing. Clearly my idea has backfired spectacularly. Even funnier, this opus only describes his early life in Smethwick and the various jobs he had between leaving school with no qualifications and retirement. Our family stories are in another epic file I haven't even seen yet! The joke is well and truly on me. Still, the pages are full of gold and h ere I'm sharing an escapade

Farewell AST

After four years, three of them as Vice President, I'm standing down from the board of the Association for Software Testing . Let me say up front that I am an unapologetic romantic about my craft. (And, yeah , I called it a craft. Sue me.) I believe in what AST stands for, its mission , and in context-driven testing , so it's been an absolute privilege to be involved in running the organisation. It's also been fun, and full of difficult situations and choices, and hard work on top of family life and a day job. There also was the small matter of the global Covid pandemic to deal with. The immediate impact was on CAST, our annual conference , and in some ways the beating heart of the AST. We had to variously cancel, reschedule, and move CAST online and we are still experiencing the after-effects as we organise the 2023 in-person event . So why am I leaving? Well, first, I'm not leaving the organisation, only the board. I am a life member and